could my queen be getting crowded out?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Daniel Y, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I am concerned about my queen having space to lay but the bottom deep is not due for inspection until the first of August.

    I have a 10 frame lang I started in mid may from a strong 5 frame nuc.
    I have added boxes as they got each one filled to 80% so they have always had room. The hive is now two deep bodies and one med. super that they have just now started to draw comb in.

    I have been concerend over the past month because they would not start drawing comb in the med. super.

    On 7-1 my last inspection of the lower deep showed it had 4 empty frames a couple of frames of brood and a the rest honey. The upper deep was over half brood and the rest honey. I did notice some pollen being stored in the lower deep in random cells.

    on 7-14 I inspected the upper deep again and it is now completely full of honey over half of it capped and the bees had just started drawing comb in the super. To me that seemed like a lot of honey stored quickly.

    Now I am concerned that they may have also crowded the queen in the lower deep???

    So mainly my question is. What would you do?

    Check the lower deep even though it has only been two weeks to verify she has room?

    Assume that the bees know what they are doing and let them do it?

    Be estatic that a first year hive managed to store nearly 90 lbs of honey in two weeks? And look as if they may be able to do more than that.

    Throw up your hand in frustration certain that all is lost? :)

    I am just in one of those zones that what I am seeing in the hive is not quite adding up for me. Maybe the bees just took a while filling out those two deeps. maybe there is a problem that my inexperience has me blind to. So if nothing else this is just double checking myself.

    So far my choice has been to assume the bees know what they are doing.
     
  2. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Check the lower deep.
    And don't be rigid about when to do inspections.
     

  3. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Check the lower deep and reverse them if necessary. I always inspect as needed, no set schedule.....
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Thanks, I am going out to check it now.
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Ugh! It is not quite as bad as I feared but not good. I found all of two full frames of capped brood. no eggs but I may have missed any. Two frames that seemed to have quite a bit of empty comb but no sign of the queen. So at the very least there is 4 frames the queen can lay in . and that is it for the entire hive. unless she moved way up into the top past a deep of honey to find room to lay. I didn't see the queen. All the frames had real random brood but nothing that comes even close to a pattern.

    My best guess is the bees are filling this entire hive up fast and the queen is finding little to no room to lay.

    I am thinking I need to add a box, but where? above or below the bottom deep? Or should I even add a box at all. I can checkerboard empty frames into the bottom deep and use the removed frames to checkerboard a second deep above that one.

    Any advice is more than welcome right now.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    if there is a dearth on and hot out the queen will slow down and sometimes stop laying all together. If you have access to an extractor you could extract a few frames and put them back in the hive to give the queen more room. I wouldnt reverse hive bodies this late in the year. Another option would be to move the frames around to where the honey and pollen are
    the outside frames
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    I found all of two full frames of capped brood. no eggs but I may have missed any.

    tecumseh:
    where were these located in the bottom or the top deep? and did you see any evidence of queen cells?

    I myself reverse hives bodies whenever necessary and as a general rule try to locate any brood at the bottom of the stack placing anything underutilized to the outside or above this primary brood area.

    just casually it sounds like you may have lost the queen about two weeks ago (swarming or lost via manipulation). if queenless (and often time the hive disposition informs you of this one way or the other) then leaving the hive undisturbed may be something worth considering.

    I would 1) likely remove and extract any honey and 2) feed just a bit to see if this encouraged the queen to begin laying again (if she is in fact still on board to do so?).
     
  8. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Tecumseh,

    All brood is in lower deep, bottom of the hive. The deep above that is full of honey no room there for anything. So unless reversing boxes means something other than what I am thinking I don't see how that helps.

    I am limited to crush a strain harvesting of honey so comb will be destroyed. Is it still advisable to remove honey if that is the case?

    I will search the top med super tomorrow just to see if maybe she has moved up their where new comb is being drawn.

    I am still not good at knowing if a flow is on or not, but nearly 90 lbs of honey made in the last two weeks indicates to me they are finding a good amount of nectar.

    No queen cells not even cups I looked carefully.

    In my last inspection I also failed to see eggs so it may be my vision rather than lack of eggs.

    Hive disposition is good, They are a touch more aggressive than when I first got them but I attribute that to having a more established hive with honey to defend. definitely not angry bees.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you seem to understand what is trying to be accomplish via reversing. if the brood had been in the upper deep I would tend to reverse or more likely rearrange the brood nest downward (I pretty much do the reversing thing whenever I think it may be necessary).

    at this point in what I have gleaned from you removing the honey would not be a priority.

    disposition (for me this tells you a lot) suggest you have a queen in the box and yes spotting eggs can be a bit tricky. as to the latter full light for me (over my shoulder) is required and some veils made with the plastic screen (not wire) makes for seeing eggs one notch more difficult. <at this point I suspect this may be the primary problem although physical congestion of the brood nest also seem to be part of the issue.

    good luck...
     
  10. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Assuming the queen is there. She is still finding it hard to find room to lay. I am not completely certain I should interfere with this as teh bees had room at the tip of the hive and still crowded the lower deep like this.

    But if I do anything I am thinking of switching the upper deep that is full of honey and the med super that is just now being drawn. this placed newly drawn comb on top of the lower deep. this puts this comb much closer to the queen for now.

    The hive would then look like this from the bottom to the top

    Deep Body with pollen, some brood, empty comb that may contain eggs or young larva and some honey but is not giving the queen much room

    Med super with foundation just starting to get drawn.

    Deep body filled with honey most of which is capped.

    After having some time to mill this over. this so far is my favorite plan. it moves empty space closer to the queen provides some newly drawn cells for her and does not tear up what the bees seem to want to do down below.

    from other conversations I have gathered that the bees like to store pollen below the brood nest, honey above. It appears to me that they simply don't have enough space between where they are storing pollen and where they have stored honey. The above answer gives them more space between the two for the brood nest to fit.

    Let me know if this ides sounds agreeable to you all.
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Sounds reasonable if you don't mind the queen raising brood in your honey super. Another thought might be to simply remove 3 or 4 frames of capped honey from your upper deep and replace them with foundation (checkerboard) It would gives the bees a chance to draw out those new deep frames and either allow the queen to lay there or use however they wish.
     
  12. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I am in pretty much the same situation. I checked the upper of the two brood boxes today. There is a total of maybe two frames of capped brood in there and all the rest is honey. They have clearly filled all the dark cells which used to be brood with honey. I am reluctant to dig into the bottom box for two reasons. I don't want to harm the queen and the bees start to get angry by the time I get down to that level. I have two deep supers on top of the two deep broods. One is full of honey and the other I put on 4 days ago is about 1/2 drawn out. I did replace the center frame in the top brood box with partially drawn foundation and took out a frame of capped honey. Like Daniel I am concerned that the queen seems to be getting less and less room to lay. the hive is super strong though, so maybe I worry too much. I hope this is not a thread highjack, since we are dealing with the same concerns.
     
  13. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I vote along with Daniel Y. Only I would add the comment that your situation shows the advantage of of working with deeps only. [ I know the considerations for using shllows and mediums, but still feel, if you've got the strength to handle them, all deeps is best.]
    If you have the option for adding a deep, I would put one, with frames and foundation, above the bottom deep. As long as honey is still coming in, it should be built quickly and draw the queen there to continue her laying. This would also give the bees something to do other than to think of possibly swarming.
     
  14. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    pistolpete, No fear about hijacking. the more conversation the better. Others read these conversations and find answers in them as well.

    I like the idea of adding the third deep. It avoids using my honey super. it allows me to get same extra deep frames drawn so next time I have them available. that alone is making it a bit tough to deal with this at the moment. Hey starting out is tough.

    So let us know what solutions you come up with and also let us know how it worked.

    I am going to set up my third deep checkerboarding it with some of the honey from the top deep for now. just to gt them started nice and straight with the comb etc. I will also move the frames of capped brood up into that deep to help draw the bees attention as well as the queen.

    I meant to switch the med super and upper deep yesterday but did not get to it. Maybe that is a good thing now. I eventually plan for this third deep box to be the beginnign of my second hive. this could end up just haivng it that much more ready when that time comes. In short it is an answer that fits much more of my overall direction.
     
  15. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I inserted a new deep body between the lower and upper deep this afternoon. In the process I checkerboarded all frames frome the lower deep into the second deep so two deep bodies are now checkerborded with either frames with foundation or empty frames. (ran out of foundation)

    In the process I positively located 4 fairly decent frames of brood and with the help of a flashlight did locate some eggs. It also appears there was more brood in what appeared to be empty comb than Ithought the other day. I still don't think there where 6 good solid frames of brood int eh hive though so although not as bad as I first thought. the brood nest situation is not as good as I woudl like for it to be.
    It is an overcast day and there where lots of bees in the hive. it made it very difficult to remove frames etc. I ticked off enough bees to get two stings in the process. One right through my glove and the other where the glove and the elastic band of my jacket parted just enough for one to get in a lick.
    Not to bad given this is the worst I have ticked off my bees since getting them.

    The good news is I saw sign of my queen.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am not certain if what you are doing (especially with foundation) is technically checkerboarding* or a good idea. I have the impression that you distributed the six frames of brood and eggs with foundation in between??? if so... this sounds like a really bad idea fraught with thing that likely will not work out the way you seem to think.

    *I myself really don't know what this terms describes but it is my limited understanding that timing/seasonality of this manipulation is at least part of it's design?
     
  17. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    I try never to split up brood frames, I may move food frames up a box or out in the same box to add a new frame for more room to lay, I try to always keep the 2 outer frames on each side of each brood box filled with pollen and nectar, also I agree totally with EF on the 9 inch boxes, its all I run that way I can move anything anyplace no worries, but I will admit when it gets 4 or 5 stacks high its hard getting that full box off to even look of the top (age setting in I guess)
     
  18. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Tecumseh, Specifically what I mean by checkerboarding is that every other frame is either foundation or an empty frame. while the others are drawn frames filled with brood, honey and pollen.

    I will let you all know how it went. but the queen needs room so I gave it to her. Past observations indicate she could have new comb to lay in in the next 24 hours and all ten frames drawn over the next week.

    We will see. I know I had a problem. I may still have a problem. won't know that for a while.
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    anyway good luck and do tell us how it all works out...

    and a snip...
    Past observations indicate she could have new comb to lay in in the next 24 hours and all ten frames drawn over the next week.

    tecumseh:
    a thing often time overlooked by newer beekeeper is as the season moves along what you can expect from 'the girls' will also change and quite drastically. early in the season as the population builds and you have a robust flow with lots of pollen and lots of new bees in the box foundation can be pulled into comb almost over night. later on as you hit mid season pulling foundation can get a bit more difficult. quite often at this point foundation will be scavenged for other purposes leaving you with a frame a chewed up bit of wax. feeding in a constant regimented way is often times a necessity if you want comb to be pulled at this time of year.

    ps... as a general rule I do not split up brood and never if I do not have a drawn frame of comb to slide into the space. frames either of foundation (I am not certain no foundation would apply here????) or comb of SOLID pollen I would never use to separate combs of brood. at the very least you are likely encouraging superscedure even though there may be absolutely nothing wrong with the existing queen. although a frame of drawn comb and one of foundation looks the same to you and represent the same basic material 'the girls' do not see these two things as the same thing. there are other manipulation you could have performed to do what I think (???) you are trying to accomplish.
     
  20. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I had what might have been a pause in drawing comb a month ago but they started drawing comb again in the last week maybe a bit more.
    I also live in an area with a weird climate. Summer does not even start here until July and even yesterday only got into the 70's. Right now it is only 60 degrees it will get into the mid to high 80's or higher during the day. A lot of people have just started their gardens that sort of thing. In short we run way behind the rest of the country for spring and summer due to being in the shadow of the Sierras.

    As far as I can tell the girls are still packing it in. I did consider the whole, "Are they even drawing comb" issue before doing this though.

    As far as splitting the brood. I found the bees do this on their own often. not sure why but I usually find a frame they are filling with honey right in the middle of the brood. I also made sure every frame had it's own resources or I did not move it.

    If the bees pack this deep full I am probably going to split the hive. I am guessing they will probably just fill it like they did the first one and move the queen back down anyway.